This painting shows Yerba Buena Cove in San Francisco in 1851, looking West from about the intersection of present-day Pacific and Drumm Streets. In 1851, that spot was still underwater and about one-half mile from shore. The shallow cove was progressively filled in the 1850s and 60s, first with cast off debris from the city's early waterfront, then with the remains of ships, buildings, and wharves burned in the six great fires which devastated San Francisco during the gold rush. Also, as early as 1851, the many small hills in Happy Valley and even the slopes of Telegraph and Rincon Hills were razed to create fill for the reclaimed 'water lots.' The result is a topography and shoreline today that bears no resemblance to its earlier self; solid, flat ground stretching far out into the San Francisco Bay.

The steamship shown departing is the Antelope, which at the time was in regular service between San Francisco and Sacramento, and would later be used to ferry Pony Express mail along the same route for Wells Fargo.


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